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Are Switch kites getting any better?

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Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby plummet » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:48 pm

Ok before I start this is not a Switch bashing exercise. Its an observation of what has happened at my local.

I have this theory that you pay for what you get. If its cheaper you sacrifice something to make it cheaper. Quality, performance and or service.

The Switch business model by its very nature means its service level is worse. Online companies cannot give the service level a bricks and mortar shop can provide.

When Switch was released a bunch of guys bought them at my local. For a while there it was the most common brand to see on the beach. Then one by one the guys that bought those kites sold them and replaced them with more a expensive kite from one of the top brands.

Intrigued by why these guys sold these kites typically after one season and went back to more expensive brands I asked the question. The typical answer was that their new kite flew so much better than the Switch It was worth paying the extra to get better performance.

On a side note. The kite brand I have seen torn to shreds by the wavesthe most is Switch kites. I put this down to the theory they newbies would tend to by switch Chasing a bargan, So there are more inexperienced people riding Switch kites. therefore they are more likely to crash/damage them.

So.... My theory still stands.
Low cost = a reduction in performance or quality and or service.

So from my observations there is a reduction in performance and a reduction in service.


Are Siwtch getting better? Will they be like Hyundai? 10 years ago nobody wanted to by a Hyundai as there were low quality crappy cars. Now they are high quality and many people would want to buy one. But as the quality increased so has the price.

So here is my question to guys who have flown switch and compared them to other brands. What is your impression? is the next generation of switch kites better? is there still a performance gap.

Lastly. If you are a switch team rider and get discounted gear please remain silent. Your opinions will be bias. I want to here from guys who do not get a discount and have paid there hard earned cash at full price to buy these kites.

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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby BWD » Sat Nov 30, 2013 8:55 pm

So, I can offer a contrarian take:

Quality of workmanship: according to you, no difference.

Quality of service: no data provided, just the "obviously" statement.

Quality of performance: you stated your mates who switched did so because their new kites flew "better," ... In what way, we are led to wonder.... Perhaps they just figured out exactly what they wanted. Kites may suit a rider or not regardless of price. Then there is the novelty factor. What will they ride in a coue of years?

A further comment on service: You should consider asking what is the median distance or travel time to a shop for the typical rider. For a large proportion of kiters, it's far enough that a same day resolution to a gear issue is unlikely ( unless DIY ), unless you happen to fly the top brand sold in a beach town and live quite near. FedEx being what it is, being near is not so important to most I think.

Back to performance: the only criticism I have on design is the early models had fairly long bridles. As most know, it can be a little easier to tune long pulley bridles than short, non-pulley bridles. But they give performance desired by many, and are used by many top brands, so that doesn't hold much water either.

Finally, the main point, price point.
You name the assumed problems of cheaper kites, but don't really address the price point itself.
Buying a cheaper kite is obviously a great strategy for an independent beginner, who is likely to wear out, crash, or rip whatever kite he uses to progress to the next stage. The next stage, intermediate, may stagnate and mow the lawn behind a pricy cab or flysurfer for years, but is likely to at some point yearn to progress. Progression means harder tricks and more kite destruction risk. Waves? Racing? Same thing.
I think at many stages of the life cycle of a kiter, a cheap kite has a use. Consider that an aspiring freestyles could buy 2 combats for the price of a top brand c kite. Probably a whole quiver of nitro for the price of a large new edge or vmg, etc.

If you have a breakdown on a weekend, what will help you more, a shop within an hour drive, or another kite in the trunk to finish your session?
Personally, my strategy has been to buy used kites, for about the same savings - or more.

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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby jats2k9 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:16 pm

So you see an outrageously priced kite and you buy it because it most be good or so you believe just because of the price, or do you actually have access to all the hype they talk and can actually confirm it's true. They don't sell cheap because they use cheap materials, but because of the business model they use. No distributor, no retailer. Sorry for the ones that run stores and don't get to make money with this strategy.
I'm gonna laugh mao if one day someone finds out that probably all kites come from the same factory in China.

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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby longwhitecloud » Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:45 pm

i got 3 combats the 9m is golden (not a team rider) but also got vegas's and a torch

wish i could get a 5m combat.......

for sure there is a huge moral responsibility for switch (particualary with switch with their direct sales) and other brands to make sure that people understand they need quality lessons - real important - you cant tell people what to do but you can advise them

Quality wise, i have absolutely hammered my kites (2 years old) and they are still going well.

b interesting to ride the new ones

I want a company to release an allround c kite not just focused on freestyle.

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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby UKSurf » Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:54 pm

I owned a Switch Element but currently do not own any Switch kites and have no affiliation to the company what so ever. The main reason switch are cheaper is because they do not have to support a supply chain. If you read the recent thread on kite manufacture cost it has now been revealed that the kite you are paying $1500 would cost you costs $400-$500 if you purchased it from the factory where it was made. Most of what you are spending you hard earned cash on is supporting the overheads of the shops and distributors who are in the "Chain" not the kite itself.

To me after sales service is being able to buy spare parts and replacing your kite if there is a manufacturing problem. It is NOT being able to go into a shop and chat with someone about what kite they think I should buy, I already know what I want to buy. For spare parts Switch is one of the best companies, you can buy them direct from the manufacturer at a very reasonable price which you cant do for most brands. As for the manufacturing problems they are well built kites and I didnt have any problems, but I am pretty sure if there was a problem they would replace it and not try to BS you like some smaller brands seem to. They sent me a replacement valve for my kite even though it didnt need one because there had been a couple of problems with the valve on other kites.

If you like going into a shop and having a chat before you buy your kites and dont mind paying $400 for the privilege then Switch is not the brand for you. I didnt entirely get on with the Element 1, but the guy I sold it to loved it. Kite choice is a personal thing based on riding style, but I certainly was impressed with the build quality and no nonsense attitude of Switch.

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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby windfreak74 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:19 pm

I have bought switch gear for the last year and i can definetly say that quality has improved in the new gear
i just gotten a 8m nytro v3. wow :thumb: quality is equal or better than top brands.
my friends and i compared it to my friend Brand new rebel and we concluded that crafstmanship of kite build to be superior on switch. cannot say about durability.
Service is outstanding! prompt, very informative and acessible.
Ralph is fenomenal at customer service! got my gear in less than 10 days half the world across.
Performance: will right review soon! next 3 days are low to mid 20´s.
Price is just about right! i paid more for a crappy best bularoo in 2010 and with lots of quality issues with faulty customer service or warranty.
to me Switch is best bang for you buck for new gear!
in live in south american country and Price tag for north,slingshot and best for bar and 9m kite is at +$2000 dolarsTax included.and this is for last years 2012 gear.
I cannot support retailers that offer sad quality service and astronomic pricing.
Give it a try!Maybe you will have a change of heart!
have a nice weekend!! :D

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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby JGTR » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:25 pm one really wants a Hyundai :rollgrin:

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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby esg » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:35 pm

Your story sounds pretty familiar since the only 3 people I know personally, including myself, that have owned Switch kites have done the same thing that you mention seeing all your mates do at your local beach.

I can't comment on the newer versions, but I had the first version Element. It was ok. The quality was excellent actually. I loved the huge inflate valve among other things, but it had very limited wind-range, it was super herky-jerky and uncomfortable in gusts, and the de-power was awful.

If you get on their forum and listen to the team riders and designers or anyone who has a stake in their company. You'd get the impression that Switch kites are the best things invented in the history of mankind. They get very defensive. almost frothy, if you mention anything negative and are told that it is you that has the problem, and not the kites.

I haven't given up on the company. Their prices are right. I love their business model and had very good experience with their customer service. I'll try them again maybe in a few more years when they've worked all the bugs out. Maybe they have already. They're on version 3 on some models already.

Anyway, right now I'm much happier on a second-hand, more established brand. :D

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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby mr_daruman » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:52 pm

My take after riding for 2 years with Switch.
I'm almost tempted to do a closeup photo comparison to other kite brands. Sometimes the differences are glaring. This is a no discussion, kite quality of materials and build is not even equal but in most cases superior to other brands.

Performance is very good. On par with the best. Yes a very few kites like the exceptional Ozone edge jumps just a little higher etc...(though I am not sure with the new Nitro3) But NO, you will not get double the performance at double the price! Look at Mark Jacobs, that must count for something.
The only downside I can find is that the kites are a little heavy, mostly due to I think their rock solid quality. If their were super light everyone would be bashing Switch for making "low quality" flimsy kites...
Even the bag is superb compared to whats out there. Their $180 4/3 wetsuit is better build than the Mystic crossfire wetsuit for gods sake.
Customer service is very good. Emails are answered promptly and problems resolved. I had a 5th line length problem which came with the bar (wrong line) I can use it but still...I sent a mail, quick response, 3 days later a new 5th line in the mail no questions ask and I could keep the old line.
Just saying you get a high quality kite and services worldwide (awesome when taking trips) for what you pay for. :thumb:
Last edited by mr_daruman on Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby ShaveTheWhales » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:00 am

I hope to hell the new nitro 3 is better in performance than the 8m nitro 2 i own !!!
That in itself shouldnt be too hard because it was crap at jumping and slow turning with all the freckn sliders delaying response time !!!
I used it once and now it sits in the garage and use my real jump kites.
Build quality is definitely up there with any other brand for sure... You can generaly tell after pumping kites up - they have a very rigid feel to them in your hands and that gets translated into a solid flying shape in the air - Grab a lightweight kite, youll understand...
I see the Nitro 3 has fixed lines no sliders - thanks Switch for listening to the public.
I see also that it comes with a 30 day money back gaurantee if its not better than ANY other freestyle kite on the market... great way to get people to demo for the price of freight return..

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